Hello everyone! I can admit to myself that I may reread books a little too much. I will constantly go back to books I've previously read that got me emotional. I'm really good at remembering the microscopic moments that punch me in the chest, mainly going by my memory. Being a glutton for punishment, I of course frequently go back to these books when I'm wanting to be a wreck - which is more often than I care to admit.
I decided today that I would break down the details of books that have hit me the hardest and the ones I go back to the most. There will be spoilers in this for key or pivotal moments in the books below. Read with caution if any of these are on your tbr and you don't want to be spoiled. Included will be Twisted Pride by Cora Reilly, Fallen Too Far by Abbi Glines, and Fragile Longing by Cora Reilly. In this list, two-thirds of the choices are Cora Reilly's books because they are often the source of my self-imposed pain.
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Twisted Pride by Cora Reilly
Description: Remo Falcone is beyond redemption.
As Capo of the Camorra he rules with a brutal hand over his territory – a territory the Chicago Outfit breached.
Now Remo is out for retribution.
A wedding is sacred, stealing a bride sacrilegious.
Serafina is the niece of the Boss of the Outfit, and her hand has been promised in marriage for years, but kidnapped in her wedding dress on her way to church by Remo, Serafina quickly realizes that she can’t hope for saving. Yet, even in the hands of the cruelest man she knows, she is determined to cling to her pride, and Remo soon understands that the woman at his mercy might not be as easy to break as he thought.
A ruthless man on a quest to destroy the Outfit by breaking someone they are supposed to protect.
A woman intent on bringing a monster to his knees.
Two families that will never be the same.
Twisted Pride is one of the first books I reread when I want to have a good cry. Specifically, the last half is what gets me. It stems from the freeing and abandonment of Seraphina. The circumstances she finds herself in are horrifyingly heart-wrenching as she recovers from her love of Remo in a world that views her as tarnished goods. It doesn't take long for her to find herself pregnant, unable to contact him for fear of shaming her family. Her children are considered pariahs because of the events from which they were conceived.
When Remo is captured in a plan for revenge in her honor, Seraphina is there to save him and tell him for the first time about his children. They head back to the place where it all started for Remo and Seraphina with their babies in tow. It's a long-overdue reunion and a chance to reflect on missed opportunities that they both helped to create. The pair must come to terms with their mistakes that left them separated for so long. Once they do, the hesitant domesticity of the family is incredibly endearing and may result in a little eye-misting.
Fallen Too Far by Abbi Glines
Description: To want what you’re not supposed to have…
She is only nineteen.
She is his new stepfather’s daughter.
She is still naïve and innocent due to spending the last three years taking care of her sick mother.
But for twenty-four year old Rush Finlay, she is the only thing that has ever been off limits. His famous father’s guilt money, his mother’s desperation to win his love, and his charm are the three reasons he has never been told no.
Blaire Wynn left her small farmhouse in Alabama, after her mother passed away, to move in with her father and his new wife in their sprawling beach house along the Florida gulf coast. She isn’t prepared for the lifestyle change and she knows she’ll never fit into this world. Then there is her sexy stepbrother who her father leaves her with for the summer while he runs off to Paris with his wife. Rush is as spoiled as he is gorgeous. He is also getting under her skin. She knows he is anything but good for her and that he’ll never be faithful to anyone. He is jaded and has secrets Blaire knows she may never uncover but even knowing all of that…
Blaire just may have fallen too far.
The Fallen Too Far series is my OG choice for a good cry. I read these books around 2012 and since then I reread them almost yearly. The three books in the main series follow the couple, Rush and Blaire. I think the first book tiptoes along the line of being cry-worthy as it describes Blaire's inability to fit into his world. It completely crosses the line as bombshell revelations are dropped in Blaire's lap after already losing everyone she loves.
The second and third books are both about repairing what is broken in the first book. Whenever you think Blaire and Rush have found a path to proceed forward, something irrevocably ruins their chances. You sob alongside the characters, specifically Blaire, as they fight for a semblance of a good life. Throw a baby into the mix and Rush's hate-spewing evil sister for the perfect recipe for disaster.
Fragile Longing by Cora Reilly
Description: Sofia knows how it feels to be the consolation prize.
And definitely not an ice princess.
Her sister is—was all those things. Perfection. Until she wasn’t. Until she ran off to be with the enemy and left her fiancé behind.
Now Sofia is given to Danilo in her sister’s stead, knowing she’ll never be more than second best. Yet, she can’t stop longing for the love of the man she’s been crushing on even when he was still her sister’s.
Danilo is a man who’s used to getting what he wants.
The sought-after ice princess.
Until another man steals his bride-to-be. Danilo knows that for a man in his position losing his woman can lead to a loss of face.
Thirst for revenge.
A dangerous combination—one Danilo can’t leave behind, not even when a girl just as precious takes her sister’s place to placate him. Yet, she’s got one flaw: she’s not her sister.
Unable to forget what he’s lost, Danilo might lose what he’s been given.
Fragile Longing is quite literally the sister novel to Twisted Pride. It follows Seraphina's sister, Sophia, as she grows up in a world incomplete without her lost sibling. She finds herself offered as a "consolation prize" to Seraphina's former fiancé which messes with her from day one. This book is emotional from the first page onward as you see Sophia struggle to find her own identity all the while believing that everyone wishes her sister was in her place. She does everything in her power to replace the sister who remains larger than life. In the process, she sacrifices herself in the name of proving to her fiancé, parents, and brother that she is equal to Seraphina. The true tragedy is the loss of who she is and the damage it inflicts upon her.
I think it's an incredibly relatable storyline even given its exaggerated circumstances. We all know how it feels to never feel like we're enough and watching Sophia battle this from the time she is ten onward is undeniably anguishing. Being inside her head through first-person narration really drives home the self-deprecating and downright heartbreaking thoughts inside her head. The book is one of the few I've found that can grab you at the very beginning and leave you a sobbing mess as you flip through every page.
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